Hospitality for the spirit of Christmas

Standaard

It’s almost Christmas and Deventer is being transformed into Dickens city for the annual Dickens Festijn. Time for the all-time Christmas film classics.

Watching for the best version of the Christmas Carol, I came across the scene where Ebenezer Scrooge is taught the value of hospitality by the Ghost of Christmas Past. She shows him his younger self, working as an apprentice at Old Fezziwig’s drapery shop. It’s Christmas Eve and Fezziwig throws a wonderful party for his staff at Christmas Eve. There’s food, wine, a great fiddler and lots of dancing. Ebenezer watches the scene in a trance, his emotions in a turmoil.

[start of quote] “A small matter,” said the Ghost,” to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.”

“Small.” echoed Scrooge.

The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices, who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so, said,

“Why. Is it not. He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?”

“It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count them up: what then. The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” He felt the Spirit’s glance, and stopped. [end of quote]

Ebenezer realizes that it’s the small things that will make people happy–and would have made him happy as a young man–if only he had not rejected this kind of attitude at the time

Hospitality is shown by Dickens as an essential part of the spirit of Christmas: closely related to the virtues of generosity and charity–and the insight that hospitality can deliver happiness is part of the transformation of Scrooge into the Good Man who at the end of the story, embodies the true spirit of Christmas. Here’s the wonderful scene. 

Dickens Festijn: 20-21 December 2014, http://www.dickensfestijn.nl

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